Monday, 27 February 2017

I truly believe that if I push the stone up the hill then my work will be done.
I truly believe that if I push the stone up the hill then my work will be done.
I truly believe that if I push the stone up the hill, then my work will be done.
I truly believe that if I push the stone up the hill then my work will be done.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Quarried stone

Each step is the water over stones
Smoothed edges
Each step is the receding tide
a pallet knife over sand
Each step is the swell of violence
The crack of shotgun fire
Each step is that which I cannot contain
Myself untamed
Each step is hiding in the shadows
From beaks, talons and hawkeyes

Monday, 20 February 2017

Music - The corpse at the bar.

Words improvised mostly, some improvised and refined, looping pedal, fucked violin and mic + mic looper. 

Hangover bliss.

Taking your chances is like trying to stop the tide going out
Fate leaves you beached
What could have been is the refrain
of the corpses
propping up the bar

What could yet be?
I ask and there's laughter
You never learn.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Endlessly unwinding

You get up and do the same thing you've done for thousands of days. You shivering, hopping ungracefully in the dark trying to put on your clothes without waking anyone else.

You haven't had had enough sleep. You never have enough sleep.

The cup of tea brings enough clarity to your mind to make you seem capable of driving.

The shadow of an unknown anxiety follows you, stalking your steps, perfectly in time. After a while you don't notice it lurking.

If you put the radio on you'd feel worse. Jabbering, braying voices declaring 'the thing is' or 'what we must do' or 'what people must realise' in sanctimonious tones. Nothing really, nothing said in passion or confusion or love or anything that could mean anything to you. Just nothing, the same nothing, arguing endlessly over nothing. Zero plus zero equals nothing.

You're driving, the sun is coming up. For a moment your mind wanders to the things you could do and the places you could go. To the tops of the hills, to the valleys, back home to the warmth of your bed. To the bosom of a great novel about crossing the sea, or flying to the moon.

You keep driving. It's autopilot, feelings switched off. If you are lucky you'll be early enough to enjoy a meaningless conversation with someone you'd never have befriended in any other circumstances and will never see once they or you leave. You'll exchange platitudes or empty gossip about petty work politics.

You'll spend the best part of your day doing things you don't believe in, which have nothing to do with love, passion or confusion or anything you could believe in. You'll be reminded of corporate mantras and you'll be doubly reminded of their emptiness.

You'll eat. The food will be rushed and there'll be more small talk. Ignorant half thought through observation and more gossip and empty politics. You'll work more, you'll think about how utterly wasteful things are and how the people you speak to who are in charge of you seem to reek of deliberate ignorance and a brusque bullish certainty or fearful compromise. You will struggle to respect them. You'll wonder how anyone maintains a semblance of aspiration.

You'll be released from the grind, spat out, thirsty, eyes aching. Onto darkening roads, dazzling headlights. You'll try and try to concentrate as if your life depends on it because your life does depend on it. You'll think again as the hills and the valleys disappear into the gloam of what you didn't do.

You'll think to yourself 'one day' but you'll know it's a lie. You'll wish that if you lie to yourself enough it would be come true but you'll know it won't. You'll switch on the radio and the same voices will drone, irritated, prim, slimy. You'll wonder if they believe their own lies. If they honestly think they are doing anything of any value.

You'll think of the evening and no sooner will it arrive but it will fold in on itself disappear before you've come to terms with it.

You'll sleep, too late and you'll get up again and live the same dream again.

The shadow will be there. Whispering to you. Telling you to remember that it's your fault you see the world like this. Telling you that you need to see things differently and learn to enjoy the world for what it is. That the hills aren't made to be climbed, the valley streams aren't for swimming, the moon is not for the likes of you.

You'll have to learn to believe that the corporation loves and values you with the tenderness of a human caress. To learn to put aside your love, passion and confusion in exchange for a softer, gentler kind of communication about the smaller things in life. 

You can retune the radio, to something more reassuring. Something less provocative. You can search for the hero inside yourself and consider each day a glorious triumph, a new conquest in your own personal march towards some undefined yet almost tangible glory.

And always remember. Your feelings are entirely your fault. Look at the people around you. Grinning, smiling, laughing.


And the shadow will laugh and say 'it's all up to you how you feel, nothing else.'

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Beware the 'bubble' bubble

It's become part of the common conversation - have we all entered int a world of refracting mirrors which just show us what we want to see, endlessly feeding our brain with the way we think the world is or should be? 

Yes, probably, but what of it?

The social media bubble has been blamed for Brexit, for Trump. For subverting the common-sense of the common people who have skillfully manipulated themselves into believing they think something they don't really think + Nigel Farage.

Does this really stand up to critical rigour?

Where was social media in 1933? Were the Hitler youth transfixed by the latest meme, before marching into town and decrying their parents for un-Aryan activities? No. Did they eagerly swallow false news to fuel their new found sense of purpose and direction? Er...yes. But how did they do this without so much as a Nokia 3310 in sight?

Is fascism the product of alienation and economics or of memes?

'The problem is, people just 'unfollow' who they disagree with' 

Whilst, clearly, fostering a broad social base is good for the mind, there has never been a period in recent history where we haven't had a social choice about who we 'hang out with' - We chose our pub, our table in the canteen or whatever, based in part on the fact we loosely shared the values of the people we spent time with.

In fact, it's only since social media's advent have we been expected to 'hang out' with 100s of people simultaneously. It's hardly surprising that we might choose to be, from time to time, selective about that.

'It's the lack of 'proper' news that's the problem' 

Yes, it is. This said, social media gives us access to an incredible diversity of sources if we choose to access them. As much as we pine for the media of the past, the idea of an event like Hillsborough or the miner's strike being so meekly reported and the establishment being able to effectively bury institutional criminality on a massively public scale seems far fetched.

Is there a point here? 

Ultimately, what is disturbing is the assumption that things that don't suit the agenda of the literati can be written off as anomalies, that to blame facebook or twitter for fascism and xenophobia is to ignore completely the route cause. It also is a simple way of undermining any opinion which doesn't fit into the status quo.

It smacks of missing the point. Trump won, because Clinton was crap, because of decades of stagnation, because Obama did little to alter the fundamentals of power, because for the first time in living memory socialism was on the agenda because people wanted to kick at POWER.

Brexit happened because the left in Britain made no meaningful changes to the power structure, because people HAVE seen their identity disappear down a rabbit hole with little prospect of return, because the benefits of the EU seem far away in the midst of austerity where everything is on the line and life is completely precarious. The well meaning statements about how a)little migrants cost the country and b)how actually, they benefit the economy only really work if a) you've got a little spare and b) that statement rings true in your experience. 'The EU brings prosperity and freedom, by the way, we're axing the bus service, slashing your benefits and taxing your bedroom, but if you could kindly vote for things to remain the same, it'd be grand!'

Brexit happened because consistently people ignored communities wrecked by deindustrialisation and believed that gay or black cabinet ministers meant *actual* equality and that these things were more than small symbolic steps which actually didn't change the power structures at all. I didn't notice many government advisers from ex mining towns with a heroin problem for example.

Brexit happened because people believed class to be 'not a thing' anymore and decided because there were no people with flat caps and miner's banners it meant there was no more working class people, so we don't *really need* things like council houses because, keep the tax low, keep borrowing, we're all middle class now!

(What about the shipyards? Woohoo! Gay vicars!)

The celebration of tolerance and diversity is of course, a fine thing. The danger is, when we champion liberal values but don't actually alter the structure of power so those liberal freedoms can be enjoyed by all, we breed resentment which then in turn becomes a threat to the very liberal values we've celebrated. When we show how people are escaping the yolk of oppression and enjoying new freedoms whilst simultaneously pressing the jackboot of power down on the heads of others, we foster resentment. Twitter didn't do this. Economics did.

If I read one more article which says 'white working class men men should just shut up and put up, because insert diversity cause writer feels more valid' I'll scream. It is the white working class who created many of the institutions which now champion equality, who inspired many of the rights we take for granted, who created a beautiful culture of self improvement and education and have a history of struggle as long and as important as any minority group. It is the wilful and deliberate destruction of this power base in society which has led us directly to this point in time and to continue to see this culture as 'an enemy in our midst' or somehow subhuman, or essentially inferior is exactly the mistake that will perpetuate the right's grip on the public. Unless people re-embrace class as the defining inequality or 'minority' group, there is no hope of any sort of populist progressive force arising. The dichotomy of 'safe space culture' vs 'working class culture' is a false and dangerous one. When your spare bedroom is being taxed, that seems to me to be a complete invasion of 'safe space'

Both Brexit and Trump rose out of perception that they would alter power structures. They won't, but our cosy little middle class assumptions about the world don't either.  Bleating about decency makes no difference. Only actual change does. Only if the money is distributed better does decency actually get a chance to flourish. You can stand in your garden and wish for the flowers to bloom. You can lambast the flowers, sing a protest song about the flowers but if the soil is bad...

These things didn't happen because facebook+twitter. Don't be lazy.

Related image
Once upon a time in a far off land...

Monday, 6 February 2017

Wrote something, then set it to music, or vice versa. Not sure which way it works really.

All heads down,
Walking from there to here
As fast as we can.

Maybe you'd notice me if I stopped and threw my had back
Laughed and drank the rain, let it fall into my open eyes and run down my face like tears of joy

Laughed like a madman. Wild madman in the rain.

But I just walk like the rest

Head down, from there to here
as fast as we can

I want to walk till I cannot walk no further.

Past pleading signs declaring 'sale now on'
Whitewashed windows
faded road markings
Through the acrid underpass
over the thrill of the footbridge
watching the clouds of spray
empty bus stops
dripping umbrellas in sopping wet beer gardens

Walk till I'm empty.
Walk till I'm quiet.
Walk till I'm dead inside.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Not so manic now

My writing project today. Been busy, missed a few. This is basically a reaction to something I read.

What I read.

It's mental health day or something. Read this and fucking weep, then do something.

I read something earlier by Fisher where he pointed out that what Marx called 'alienation' we call depression.

I've only just discovered this man's writing. It's beautiful, brilliant stuff.

I think his essential point that depression is not an individual's struggle, but requires collective action is powerful. I think that whilst it's dumb to simplify mental health as a societal problem (end), he's absolutely on the money in terms of the folly of telling the depressed person that their mental health is solely their responsibility.

If it were a physical illness, to deny societal causes would be folly. If mental health means anything to you, think about the world you want to live in and find other people who want to live in a similar world, take small steps together towards that world. Win little battles. Inch, by, inch. Real things. We need some victories. We need a fucking parade of celebration, not another march against the relentless humming of ill thought out self defeating efficiency.

You are not alone and it's not your fault. Sleep well, eat well, find space and time. Hold on to the walls because it will get better. Stare into the void. I cannot molify existential dread but I do believe that your lack of self worth is not your fault. Believe you are good enough. I will believe I am good enough.

This world is like being told you have to sprint to the finish then discovering the track is designed *deliberately* to be made of quicksand. As you stand, petrified at the start line, you plug in your branded lifestyle content provider for guidance and your recommended anxiety medication app tells you "feel the ground beneath your feet and breath" and you want to scream "IT'S FUCKING QUICKSAND AND I DIDNT PUT IT THERE AND I WON'T BE ABLE TO FUCKING BREATH IF MY LUNGS ARE CLOGGED WITH SAND"

Maybe just fuck the race off? Perhaps others might catch on. Maybe we'd all be a bit happier without watching people try so fucking hard to get to the end floundering, gasping, choking, clawing for air, sucked under, looking anguished or tottering, petrified of one wrong move.

Maybe you enjoy this sort of thing. Maybe you'd push people in the sand, walk on their bodies, leap accross their corpses, slipping, pulling people down to lever yourself up, floundering but taking a grip on cold straggling clumped strands of hair of those who didn't make it, tackling, ripping, gouging and finally, breathlessly getting to the end and *winning*

That's what it's all about isn't it.

Maybe people should just cheer the fuck up. Or maybe your a cunt.